CLAMP Q&A – CLAMP Newspaper Subscriber’s Counseling Room (February/1992)




Q: Have you ever thought about recruiting more CLAMP members?

A: No, we haven’t.

Q: Ohkawa Nanase-san is always the tallest person shown whenever you draw likenesses of CLAMP members. Does that mean Ohkawa-san is the tallest one in real life?

A: Yes, Ohkawa’s the only person who manages to be 163[1] centimeters tall. Everyone else is 160 centimeters or shorter than that.

Q: I know you don’t go Comiket as a participating circle anymore, but do you still go there for fun?

A: Between our workload and other responsibilites, it probably won’t happen.

Q: In Blood Brothers Theater Logs, you mentioned that you went back to the restaurant you forgot to pay for to get Ohkawa-san’s hat. Did the proprietors ever tell you to ‘pay up for what you just ate’?

A: They didn’t. It looks like they didn’t notice it, either. (-Mokona)

Q: I’m going to be an actual first year university student this coming April, so I’ve been thinking of getting my ears pierced. The local piercer near my house told me that ‘once a person pierces their ears, their personality and fate would be changed forever’, though, so I’m not sure if I should. Has there been any change of that sort with Igarashi-san and Mokona-san, too? Please, tell me!

A: No, there’s been no change whatsoever. (-Igarashi & Mokona)

Q: Is it conceivable that anyone would leave CLAMP? Conversely, is it conceiveable for CLAMP to take in someone new?

A: It’s quite conceivable that people would leave. Maybe they want to create something of their own outside of the CLAMP name, maybe they want to go on working in other fields entirely (as in, things unrelated to creative works at all). The reverse isn’t true, though, we’re not accepting new members.

Q: Do you drive? If so, what did you name the car?

A: We don’t drive. For one thing, Igarashi is the only one who has a driver’s license, and she’s hardly been driving ever since she took the test 3 years ago, so she’s pretty much what they call a ‘paper driver’…

Q: If anyone in CLAMP gets married, would CLAMP collapse as a group?

A: We’re not going to fall apart from marriage! (laughs) It depends on how understanding our hypothetical husbands are, but it’s not as if you can’t work once you get married…

Q: Do you always read the letters you receive from fans?

A: We always read every letter we get, whether it’s addressed to the CLAMP Newspaper or to our publishers.

Q: A question to Akiyama-sensei. Back when you were a regular at a certain ‘zine, there was a person with an art style very similar to yours using the very similar moniker of ‘Akiyama Akira’. Any relation?

A: We’re the same person! (laughs)

Q: Does Ohkawa Nanase-san have any plans to write a novel?

A: There’s a plan of sorts, yes. It’ll be printed in a certain women’s informational magazine and be a grown-up sort of story like Koi (Love), the story we collaborate with Okazaki Takeshi-sensei for South Magazine. We’ll have more news in the CLAMP Newspaper and other things later on.

Q: Is Ohkawa Nanase-san of any relation to Ohkawa Ryuuho of Happy Science?[2] (I heard this from some girls at a certain bookstore — but I couldn’t believe it!)

A: Where did that rumor even come from…? That’s a complete fabrication. If I recall correctly, Mr. Ohkawa Ryuuho’s real name is Nakagawa, anyway… rumors can be such troublesome things…

Q: Everyone in CLAMP has such a polite way of speaking. Were you all perhaps brought up as proper ladies in rich families? (Maybe daughters of company presidents!?)

A: We’re not! (laughs)

Q: Please tell us what CD you like to listen to while working, CLAMP-sensei!

A: We usually listen to whatever’s close at hand. I guess our favorite right now is the Calbee potato chips commercial song (by Kondo Fusanosuke and Oda Tetsurou).

Q: Can you recommend us a recent TV program?

A: I guess that’ll be Anata Dake ga Mienai[3] (Fuji TV). (laughs) The twists and turns in each episode are so wild, we can’t take our eyes off it.

Q: I heard that Mokona-san makes clothing and accessories together with Nekoi-san and Igarashi-san. Have you ever taken any specialist courses for it?

A: We don’t have any specialist training at all. However, our mothers used to make clothing for us, and we’re just doing it by mimicking what they did.

Q: You’re always so polite that everyone gives off the impression of being very modest and humble… why do you always treat us with so much humility?

A: Though you are all readers who follow our stories, at the end of the day, we’ve met only a few of you face to face. That’s why we thought that it’d be rude to act overly familiar…and it seems natural to use polite speech even if we’re talking to someone younger. I-is that strange…?

Q: I heard this from the changing room at a certain convention, but is there any truth to the rumor that Mokona Apapa-san of the much-talked about CLAMP group used to be called ‘Mokomoko’ and cosplayed as ‘Ace Shimizu’ from Seikima-II?  Please tell me! I’ve been losing sleep over just that one thought!

A: That’s also completely false! But really, where did all these baseless rumors come from…? It’s true that I’m a fan of Seikima-II, but I was never called ‘Mokomoko’ or cosplayed as ‘Ace Shimizu’. And as far as Seikima-II goes, I’m a Kakka devotee anyway. (laughs) (-Mokona)

Q: Is it true that Nekoi Mick-sensei is actually married?

A: Oh, I wish…(laughs) But that rumor’s false, too. (-Nekoi)

Q: Does CLAMP use the Osaka dialect or the Kyoto dialect in real life?

A: It’s a mix of a lot of things. We speak the standard (?) dialect, and sometimes we use the dialects of our hometowns, so it’s a hodgepodge.

Q: It’s common for mangaka to be called “[something]-sensei”, but do CLAMPers (I’d like to call you that from now on, if you’re okay with it) feel awkward about being called ‘sensei’?

A: We do. We’d rather have everyone just call us ‘CLAMP’… and that’s what we told people many times, but it seems that others (publishers and such) just can’t do it that way… we don’t really think that ‘sensei’ is a word anyone should use for a bunch of stooges like us, but…

RG Veda 

Q: Is the title supposed to be read as ‘Seiden’ according to the kanji? Or are we supposed to follow the furigana and read it as ‘RG Veda’?

A: It’s supposed to be read as ‘RG Veda’. For the record, though, CLAMP members also just call it ‘Seiden’ anyway. (laughs)

Q: How many volumes will RG Veda have?

A: We, uh, don’t know that yet… (laughs)

Q: I’ve been wondering about this for a while, but what is that whorl thing above Kuyou’s ears? Is it her hair? Is it her hair accessory?

A: It’s her hair. (-Mokona)

Q: If Mokona-san and Ohkawa-san get married before RG Veda is completed, would the responsibilities of married life cause it to go ‘unfinished’ forever…? (I’d like to believe that it isn’t so…!)

A: Honestly, Nekoi and Igarashi getting married would put RG Veda in the same danger, too, it’s not just Mokona and Ohkawa. (laughs) In any case, as long as the series isn’t finished, we’d make sure that we get to keep writing it even if we get married. Everything else depends on The Circumstances of The Publisher…(laughs)

Q: Kaara-san said that ‘the king left Shuratou to me for safekeeping in the final battle, knowing that he would die’, but Hiten Muma II depicts Ashura-ou in battle with the Shuratou sword. What does that mean…?

A: Please find out in future installments of RG Veda. (laughs)

Q: Does Zouchouten-sama have a wife or children?

A: No children, but he does have a wife.

Q: What will Zouchouten be doing next?

A: Please find out in future installments of RG Veda. (laughs)

Q: Why is Ashura’s gender undefined?

A: Please find out in future installments of RG Veda. (laughs)

Q: Why are Kuyou’s eyes always closed? Is she blind?

A: She had to sacrifice her sight in order to become a Stargazer, so now she keeps her eyes closed.

Q: Why do RG Veda characters often have these billowing clothes around them in the illustrations?

A: Because the picture looks lonely with empty spaces. (laughs) (-Mokona)

Q: It seems like the Ashura tribe in general is genderless, but why did Ashura-ou take Shashi to wife, then? And they had children together! How did they have children if they’re genderless?

A: It’s not that the entire Ashura tribe is genderless (Ashura is a special case), and Ashura-ou is properly ‘male’.

Q: What is that thing on Kaara’s and Shashi’s foreheads?

A: Those are ‘ornaments’ for the faces on the Shuratou sword. As for how they’re used, please refer to RG Veda Volume 3.

Q: Each volume of RG Veda has a couplet of Kuyou’s Stargazing prophecy on its back cover. Do you plan for the volume with the prophecy’s last line to be final volume?

A: That was our original plan, but at the rate the story is going right now it looks like that would be quite impossible.

Q: Does the fourth volume have a first print edition? (Considering that it got a reprint 5 days after it went on sale and everything…)

A: It does! The volume we have at CLAMP is from the first print run.

Q: Is Zouchouten-ojisan supposed to be the general of the ‘East’ or the ‘South’?

A: We’re sorry. There was a mistake during phototypesetting, so he was referred to as both the ‘General of the South’ and ‘General of the East’. His correct title is ‘General of the South’.

Q: Is Ryu-ou’s father not going to appear?

A: He shows up in RG Veda Volume 5. (Even if it’s only for 3 pages.) 

Tokyo Babylon 

Q: Is it true that Hokuto-chan is already married? Who’s her partner?

A: …Where did that rumor even start? Hokuto is just 16, and she’s single.

Q: Back in the first volume of Tokyo Babylon, Subaru-kun introduced himself as ‘born and raised in Tokyo’, but when you read the second volume it gives you a different impression. (It feels like a place that isn’t Tokyo…) Is that just my imagination?

A: For that mystery, please look forward to our future installments. (laughs) 

Q: I’d like to know why Subaru-kun isn’t supposed to take his gloves off… Is it okay to ask about that? Please…?

A: For that mystery, please look forward to our future installments. (laughs)

Q: Why did the type of paper used for the cover change between Volume 1 and Volume 2?

A: We didn’t really change it so much as correct it. The first volume of Tokyo Babylon used a different paper from what Ohkawa specified between its first and third print runs, so we asked them to change it back to what was intended. So the paper used from Volume 2 and the fourth print of Volume 1 onwards is the paper that it’s supposed to use.

Q: What’s going on with Subaru-kun’s and Hokuto-chan’s parents? Are they alive and well?

A: They’re alive and well, for what it’s worth, but they don’t have much to do with the story so they’re not going to make an appearance.

Q: What happened to the wet clothing that Subaru-kun wore in CLIME[4], from South Vol. 12?

A: They went into the washing machine at Seishirou-san’s place.

Q: Why does Sakurazuka Seishirou-san have two birthdays? (CLAMP Brand Calendar ’92 lists both April 1 and November 22 as ‘Sakurazuka Seishirou’s birthday’…)

A: For that mystery, please look forward to our future installments. (laughs)

Q: Are the glasses Seishirou-san wears fake glasses?

A: They have corrective lens, but only a tiny bit so. For the most part you can say that they’re fake glasses.

Q: Subaru-kun is a boy and Hokuto-chan is a girl, so they must be fraternal twins! Yet they look very much identical. How did that happen?

A: Let’s just call it a miracle… (laughs)

Q: Who came up with Subaru-kun and Hokuto-chan’s clothing?

A: Mokona designed most of them, but sometimes Ohkawa, Nekoi and Satsuki pitched in with ideas, too.

Q: In “T.Y.O.”, the story from Tokyo Babylon Vol. 0, Subaru saves a lady from the hatred bound in her Chanel suit. Right after saying ‘We have to hurry and take it off…’ he appeared very flustered. How did he deal with that situation, in the end?

A: He called her mother over and got her to take it off. (While going to a different room, of course.)

Q: Hokuto-chan’s always wearing these fabulous (?) costumes, but what does she wear when she goes to school?

A: The school Hokuto goes to (CLAMP School) doesn’t enforce a dress code, so what you see is exactly what she wears to school. (laughs)

Q: I heard that Hokuto-chan is dating someone, but what sort of person can catch up with Hokuto-chan!? Are they going to appear in the story as published in the magazine? (Please let them appear—! ♡)

A: Please wait for X.

Q: How does only one person make up the ‘Assassin Clan of Sakurazukamori’? How does that work? And what sort of bet is the ‘bet’ that Subaru made with Seishirou-san long ago? What’s the meaning of Subaru’s gloves?

A: For that mystery, please look forward to our future installments. (laughs)

Q: Are the clothes in the Tokyo Babylon color illustrations all done using colored screentones?

A: Basically, yes. (-Mokona)

Q: Please tell us the structure of Subaru-kun’s, Hokuto-chan’s and Seishirou-san’s families.

A: Subaru and Hokuto have their father, mother and grandmother. As for Seishirou-san, that’s a secret. (His backstory is entirely different from the one described back in Shoten, so just to stay on the safe side, let’s say he’s not like that anymore.)

Q: After all the ruckus they made with the swirling winds crashing everywhere in their room, wouldn’t Tokyo Babylon characters get complaints from their neighbours about the noise? (And they stuck a knife into the wooden flooring, too…)

A: Let’s say that their room comes with soundproof walls… and as for the floor, as long as they fix it before they move out it should be okay…

Q: You see the initials ‘T.Y.O.’ in the title of the first story in Volume 1, and it’s also on a belt (Volume 1) and on the chest (Volume 2), but what does T.Y.O. mean?

A: It’s an abbreviation for Tokyo. In the same vein that New York is N.Y. and Washington is D.C., if we abbreviation Tokyo we’d get ‘TYO’.

Q: This might sound a bit convoluted, but if the short story titled ‘Tokyo Babylon’ in Shoten Vol. 6 and the ‘Call-A’ chapter in Tokyo Babylon Volume 3 are both set in 1990… wouldn’t that cause a conflict with Subaru-kun’s age?

A: The Subaru-kun in Shoten and the Subaru-kun in Tokyo Babylon are different people. The other characters are also different from the version in Shoten, so we’d be happy if you could think of them as completely separate stories. 

20 Mensou ni Onegai!!

Q: What is the relationship between Kobayashi Ryuusuke-kun and Takamori Ryuusuke-kun? Why is it that if Takamori-kun is half Japanese-half Russian, Kobayashi-kun would also be one? (That was stated in one volume of Shoten, if I recall correctly.) They can’t possibly be brothers, can they?

A: We’re sorry, but they’re brothers. (laughs)

Q: Why is Akechi-sensei’s surname not ‘Ijuuin’? Was he adopted into a different family, or did Akira-kun’s father change his surname when he got married?

A: Akira-kun’s father changed his surname upon marriage.

Q: Shouldn’t it be heavy for Akira-kun to carry both Utako-chan and the chest full of jewels in the colored title page for the final chapter (published in Comic GENKi magazine)? He seems to be smiling, but…

A: We’d like to think that he’s doing his best to not let it affect him. (laughs)

Q: I bought the first edition of 20 Mensou ni Onegai!! Volume 2, and the Japanese title for Event 4 was ‘The First Quarrel’. However, when I looked up the meaning of the English title (‘Proposal’) in a dictionary, it says that the word Proposal means “a request for marriage”. Is that a printing mistake?

A: It’s a printing mistake. From the third print run onwards, the Japanese title has been corrected to ‘Propose’.

Q: In the chapter titled ‘Proposal’ in Volume 2, there’s a scene where Utako-chan is talking to a friend in CLAMP School the day before her birthday (August 23rd). But wouldn’t that make it the middle of summer break? She still went to school then?

A: The school stays open during the holidays on behalf of families with busy parents.

Q: What was the title of 20 Mensou ni Onegai!! when it first started running in Comic GENKI no Moto?

A: It started with “20 Mensou ni Omakase!” (Leave it to 20 Faces!) and became “20 Mensou ni Muchuu!” (Captivated by 20 Faces), changing from chapter to chapter. Starting from Chapter 3, they allowed us to consistently title the story as “20 Mensou ni Onegai!” (‘Please, 20 Faces!’, localized into English as ‘Man of Many Faces‘.)

Q: I won’t ask you ‘why 20 Faces has two mothers’, but do you have any backstory written about that? Is there also any backstory to ‘the reason why Kobayashi-kun is so overbearing’?

A: That’s a secret. (laughs)

Q: When Ohkawa-san wrote the lyrics for the songs in 20 Mensou ni Onegai!!, did she write to music that’s already supplied by the composer, or did she ask the composer to write music to fit the lyrics?

A: The lyrics were written after the music has been composed. Everyone does this differently, but I have issues with writing the lyrics first and then asking the composer to write something for it afterwards. It’s always music first, then lyrics. (-Ohkawa)

Q: Can you tell us where you bought the clothes you used as reference materials for Utako-chan’s clothing in the ‘New Marriage’ chapter? Could it possibly be ‘CLAMP BRAND’? (I want one!)

A: It’s an original design by Mokona, so I suppose we could call it ‘CLAMP BRAND’.

Other Works

Q: Combination just ended. Do you have any plans to write a sequel?

A: No, at least not at this time.

Q: Please tell us the blood types for Imounoyama Nokoru-kun and Takamura Suou-kun.

A: Nokoru is type AB, Suou is type O.

Q: How did you draw the buildings on the cover of Combination Volume 1?

A: That was a photocopy of photographs. Ohkawa specified it for use as part of the layout.

Q: The first chapter of Koi says that the female protagonist has a graduation diploma, but the second chapter has her saying ‘I have school to go to, but I’ve came to this kind of place all of a sudden’ (referring to the hotel pool). Why does she say that? She has a diploma, doesn’t that mean she no longer has to go to school?

A: My school has students going back to it to complete their club and student council activities even after they’ve graduated… i-is that not normal…? (-Ohkawa)

Q: (Regarding South No. 12) Is it just me, or does the protagonist’s hairstyle in the third chapter of Koi look very much like the one Ohkawa Nanase-san’s SD character has? Could it be that Okazaki-san might be using Ohkawa-san as a model for the character? (Am I just overthinking everything?)

A: It surprised Okazaki-san, too, later on, but it’s a complete coincidence. I didn’t meet Okazaki-san in person at all from the day I cut my hair to the day the manuscript was completed, so when we saw the finished work, everyone at CLAMP ended up being really surprised… (-Ohkawa)

Q: Takeru-kun’s family is dirt poor, it’s amazing that he manages to attend CLAMP School.

A: He’s a scholarship student, so he doesn’t have to pay for the tuition.

Q: Who sponsors the ‘School Defenders Duklyon’?

A: The General and the Chairman.

Q: What’s going to happen in the romance between Erii and Sukibayashi?

A: Please look forward to our next installments. (laughs)

Q: Kentarou-kun always berates Shuukaidou-kun for having no sense of rhythm or for being bad at art, but when it comes to ‘brains’, who is the smarter of the two?

A: Kentarou is always just one place higher than Takeru when it comes to exams. (laughs)

Q: Are Duklyon’s Erii-san and Erii the Ally of Justice the same person? Are they sisters? Could it be some sort of codename or just a nickname?[5]

A: Actually, it turns out that they’re sisters.

Q: Does Sasaki Keiji-san always change the way he parts his hair to prevent himself from going bald?

A: Yes, that’s exactly it! (dies laughing) (-Akiyama, Igarashi, Ohkawa, Nekoi, Mokona) Noo, that’s not true! At all! (-Leeza)

Q: Is Imonoyama-SAMA actually a Japanese person?

A: That’s a secret. (laughs)

Q: The character profiles in CLAMP News 6 list Takamura Suou-kun’s position as ‘secretary’, but in CLAMP Gakuen Tanteidan, it’s said that he is the ‘vice president’. Which one is his real title?

A: We’re sorry, that mistake is ours. Suou-kun’s actual position is ‘secretary’.

Q: Why does Yakko-chan’s ‘face’ look so different between 20 Mensou ni Onegai!! and Combination?

A: Because those works were drawn by two different people! 20 Mensou ni Onegai!! was drawn by Mokona, and Combination was drawn by Leeza.

Q: I only noticed this oddness after I’ve read CLUSTER 1 over and over a dozen times, but during the scene in Vinlage where Gardinal hits Astor with a rock, Astor was first shown crouching behind Claire, and then on page 68 he was somehow standing in front of Claire. What’s more, they were standing on the edge of a cliff, but when Naumi appeared they were shown to be standing a lot further in. How did that happen? Both scenes occurred in the blink of an eye, and I was just thinking ‘would even the Queen of Rah have something like an ‘instant teleportation’ skill’?

A: Let’s just say that it was an instant teleportation skill. (laughs) (-Akiyama)


Q: X, the new series, seems to have most CLAMP characters appearing in it (I’m really really looking forward to it, by the way!!) Will the characters from magazines that aren’t published by Kadokawa (Wings and South) also make appearances, though? I want to see Ashura (though it’s probably not possible) or Sumeragi Subaru-kun and Hokuto-chan there!

A: Characters from other magazines will also appear in the story. As for who’s there, that’s something for you to enjoy when it’s out. (laughs)

Q: Just how many events are held in the CLAMP School in a given year?

A: As stated in CLAMP Gakuen Tanteidan, events are held whenever a student council member comes up with something they want to do, so they keep on adding events endlessly.

Q: The ‘rough draft exhibit’ is really going to happen, right!?

A: Y-yes, it’ll happen just fine.

Q: Have you found the screentone knife you’ve been looking for?

A: Thanks to the help we received from everyone, we’ll be fine for a year or so, but at the end of the day, it’s an item that already went out of production. When we run out of what we have right now, we’ll still have to go find a new brand that works for us.

Q: Cutting right to the point–where was Koi wa Tenka no Mawarimono (Loves Makes the World Go Round) published?

A: It’s in the final volume of a magazine called SERiE (Hakusensha). At this point, it hasn’t been collected anywhere.

Q: How many days does it take you to finish a chapter for a commercial magazine, on average?

A: It varies from work to work. RG Veda chapters are 32 pages each, and it usually takes us about a week to finish it after the storyboard is done. Tokyo Babylon is 50 pages per chapter, and it takes us about 8 days post-storyboarding. CLAMP Gakuen Tanteidan is 50 pages and takes us 7 days. Gakuen Tokkei Dukylon is 20 pages, it takes 4 days. For X, there are 60 pages each chapter, and it takes us about 10 days to finish after the storyboarding is done.

Q: Back when Monthly Asuka was all going, ‘we’re giving you a CLAMP BRAND CALENDAR ’92 as a New Year’s present!!!’ they mentioned a fanclub for CLAMP-sensei. What were they talking about?

A: The editorial department just had a misunderstanding, that’s all.

Q: What do you use as reference material for the clothes, shoes, gloves, hats, and other items that the characters wear in CLAMP works? (If you decide to make and sell those things, I’m sure everyone would buy it! They’re such fantastic designs, after all.)

A: Some of them were inspired by real-life pieces, but most of them are original designs by Mokona.

A: Inuko-san the dog appears in many CLAMP works. Are all those dogs the same ‘Inuko’ character (animal?) though? Or is it more like, every dog just happens to be like Inuko-san?

A: All of them are the same ‘Inuko-san’.

Q: What screentone brands do you use at CLAMP?

A: We use I.C.’s and Letraset’s.

A: Is it just me, or are there a lot of twins in CLAMP works?

A: I don’t think there are so many that you can call it ‘a lot’, but… m-maybe there really are a lot of them? We don’t do it consciously… but sometimes it’s just that we end up using twins because it’s easy to depict contrasts with them… (-Ohkawa)

Q: Is there such a thing as an official CLAMP fanclub?

A: No, there isn’t.

Q: How long does it take for Ohkawa-san to write the lyrics to a song?

A: It depends on the song. The two songs recorded in Tokyo Babylon CD Comic took about 2 hours each, as for 20 Mensou ni Onegai!!, Shining Star and Dream Star all took about an hour each. Koi Hodo Suteki na Musical ga Nai (There’s No Musical As Splendid as Love) took as long as 3 hours, though, because things were a bit rough at the time.

Q: I couldn’t make out the poem written on the big poster given away with South No. 12 very well. Can you tell us what the words are?

A: ‘Drenched in darkness, the hazy moon glows scarlet with the red of blood. A flower of midnight unravels on the skin, blossoming without ever bearing fruit.’[6] That’s the text. Ohkawa composed the poem, and Mokona wrote it down on the poster.

Q: What sort of meaning do you have in mind when you name the characters? Please tell us, especially for Sumeragi Subaru-kun.

A: There are characters with meaningful names and there are characters whose names just don’t mean anything. Subaru, Hokuto and Seishirou are all star-related names. ‘Subaru’ is a strange name because it can be read with only one kanji, and that’s why we decided to go with it. Other characters are sometimes named after our friends, or people in our families. Only ‘Kamui’ and ‘Fuuma’ from X have special meanings to their names, but as for what they are, you’ll have to see for yourself when the story is published. (laughs) (-Ohkawa)

Q: Have you ever given characters in your works funny nicknames that don’t appear in the work itself? (e.g. something like Kenpii or Takepon) If you have, can you tell us what some of those names are?

A: Hashiba-san is ‘Hashibaan’. Sasaki is ‘Chokkin’. Subaru is ‘Subako’. Kendappa-ou is ‘Kei-chan’. Yasha-ou is ‘Yashako’. There are a lot of other names, too. It’s annoying to call every character by their full names when we’re working on our manuscript, so we often make those names useful by saying things like ‘put the screentone on Subako’.

Q: It’s almost time for Valentine’s Day. Have you ever received any presents (other than chocolate) addressed to the characters?

A: We’ve gotten a bottle of bourbon for Hashiba. Akira-kun got some chocolate bonbons for himself, and Subaru got some extra pairs of gloves.

Q: Which character got the biggest pile of Valentine’s Day chocolate?

A: For Valentine’s Day 1991, the ‘For All of CLAMP’ pile was the biggest by far!

Q: Do you have any plans to create a fanclub at all?

A: Not an official one nor any fanclub that we manage ourselves, no.

Q: Is the ERI-san who sang Willing and Eien no Fuukei for Souryuuden the same person as the ERIE-san who sang for Tokyo Babylon CD Comic?

A: They’re completely different people.

Q: Do you have any plans to publish sheet music for the songs in the media mix projects? (e.g. Dancin’ in Babylon and Lost in My Blue, etc.)

A: Not at the moment, no.

Q: Do the stories in CLAMP works happen at different times, or do they all happen ‘in the present’?

A: They do happen at different times.

Q: ‘Class Z’ is a special class in CLAMP Gakuen Tanteidan, but what about the other classes!? Most of the characters so far are from Class Z, aren’t they? Could it be that only normal (?) people are allowed to attend the other classes…?

A:  Not at all, it’s just that with how the characters are supposed to interact with each other, we just ended up putting most of them in Class Z… though, Takahashi Seigi-kun from Koi wa Tenka no Mawarimono is a fifth year primary school student in Class A.

Q: When (or where) do you find the inspiration for the stories?

A: When I’m sitting in front of the word processor (as the deadline looms closer and closer), I guess. (laughs) (-Ohkawa)

Q: Is there any plans to collect the Fantasy and From CLAMP articles you did for the junior high daily papers into a book?

A: Not at the moment, no.

Q: Recently, Mokona-san’s works have been drawn with increasingly thicker lines. Is there a reason? The character’s faces have much thicker lines in the third volume of Tokyo Babylon compared to when the story first got serialized in South… are you okay!? I’m so worried!

A: We made the lines thicker so that it fits better with the nature of the work. When drawing a story with a serious, heavy theme, fine lines simply can’t bring out enough power to convince readers of the gravitas, so we make thicker lines when it fits the work. (CLAMP Gakuen Tanteidan just use heavier lines to make the characters stand out more, though.) Thicker lines, by the way, actually requires a lot more stamina and willpower to pull off than fine lines (in my case, anyway, it depends on the artist). So if the lines get ‘thinner’, that’s actually a sign that I’m not doing well. Please don’t worry about me! (-Mokona)

Q: How did you achieve the effect on page 96-97 of Tokyo Babylon Volume 2 and page 3 of Combination 1?

A: By reverse copying.

Q: CLAMP School looks like a star when seen from above. Is there a meaning to that?

A: That will be made clear in X.

Q: Does making a debut mean going to the publisher’s offices?

A: It’s different for everyone, but in our case, we brought the manuscript for RG Veda (60 pages, previously unshown) to Shinshokan ourselves.

Q: Is ‘Inuko-san’ single?

A: She’s actually married. (There’s actually a whole another story to this.)

Q: If there are books you used as reference for RG Veda and other stories, please tell us what they are.

A: To be honest, there aren’t that many. To decide on the names in RG Veda, we read Mikkyou Jiten (‘Dictionary of Esoteric Religions’, published by Houzoukan), and that’s about it.

Q: We know that X is a new series that will run in Monthly Asuka and that the majority of CLAMP characters will make an appearance, but will characters who haven’t been in commercial magazines before appear as well?

A: Of course they will.

Q: CLAMP characters always have such good fashion sense! What kind of fashion magazine do you use for reference?

A: None especially. We usually dress our characters based on things that we own, or things that our friends and acquaintances wear. We do read a lot of informational magazines and fashion magazines on a personal basis, though.

Q: What kind of work does Nekoi Mikku-san’s ‘art direction’ position entail? Can you give us a quick lowdown?

A: Making decisions about what kind of background to draw, what screentone to use, that sort of thing. Making decisions about the design of rooms, too. We call everything that isn’t character work ‘art direction’ here at CLAMP, and that’s what Nekoi’s job is. 

CLAMP Newspaper & Doujinshi Works

Q: I’m aware that CLAMP is putting doujin activities on hold as a circle. Do you have any plans to write doujinshi on your own as individuals, though?

A:  Not at the moment. We all have our own workload, so we just don’t have enough time or manpower to do anything else…

Q: I understand that you’ve lost the manuscript for the Shoten series so they can’t be reprinted, but Volume 6 was released quite recently. I thought that you might still have the originals for those left. Can’t that volume, at least, get a reprint?

A: We do retain partial manuscripts for some of our doujin works, true, but we’d have to re-edit and re-format it for printing, and doing all of that would a monumental amount of work. It would’ve rendered our decision to cease doujin activities in favor of commercial work completely pointless. And for that matter, Shinkyoku is the only doujinshi released under CLAMP that we still retain full manuscript for. Please be patient with us as we put our doujin activities on hold.

Q: Can we send our fan letters to the address written in the colophon (?) of CLAMP Newspaper?

A: Of course you can!

Q: Kaitzuka Nobuo-san and Hashiba Shigemi-san are supposed to be ‘friends who are bad influences on each other’. Which of them is the worse person of the two?

A: The Hashiba who has a ‘friend with bad influence’ relationship with Kaitzuka is ‘Ohkawa’s Hashiba’, and for that version of things, you can say that ‘Ohkawa’s Hashiba’ definitely has the worse personality of the two. (laughs)

Q: Does winning a CLAMP Newspaper present once means that you will never be able to entire into any prize-giving contest again?

A:  Anyone who’s won a prize will be suspended from other prize activities for a given period, about 6 months. (Quizzes and other similar activities don’t count.) We want as many people to feel the joy of winning a prize as possible, so we put this restriction in place to help more people be eligible for prizes. Thank you kindly for your understanding. 

Q: I’d like to subscribe to 2 copies of CLAMP Newspaper at once, would that cause any trouble for you…? (Before, you’ve said that the subscriber count increasing led to you going into the red once.)

A: Thank you so much for your concern. We’ve found a company that allows CLAMP Newspaper Subscription System to manage subscriber lists and print out address cards cheaply now, so the burden on our end has been greatly lessened. We won’t be going into the red because of this again, so please feel free to subscribe for as many copies as you want to.

Q: Does the subscriber number stand for our place in the subscriber count, from oldest to newest?

A: No, it’s a ‘random number’ we assigned to each person, so there’s no meaning to any given number. Other fanclubs and fanzines have had problems where arguments were made based on how ‘new’ someone’s subscriber number is, or how someone’s subscriber number has ‘too many digits’ before, so we decided to implement this system in order to avoid that sort of thing.

Q: What should I do if there’s a misprint in my copy of CLAMP Newspaper?

A: For problems with pages being out of order or missing pages, etc., please send your copy to us and we’ll send a replacement.

Q: You’re really going to hold the ‘rough draft exhibit’, right!?

A: Y-yes, we will. It’ll certainly happen sometime this year.

Q: Did Ohkawa-san write all of the text in CLAMP Newspaper, the cards, etc.?

A: Mostly, yes, but in special cases (e.g. a personal question, or something Ohkawa can’t answer by herself), each of us would write our own text.

Q: Is there no way for us to pay for the subscription all at once? (Like when we’re still loaded on the money from New Year’s gifts, for instance…)

A: We’ve made it so that you can wire us the fee for ‘1 period’ (6 months/3000 yen) or ‘2 periods’ (1 year/6000 yen) now, for people with similar needs. Please check the ‘CLAMP Newspaper Subscriber’s Room’ section of CLAMP Newspaper Pocket Edition for details.

Q: What sort of company is the ‘M Company’ from Emo-nyan to Ryuu-chan (Emo-nyan and Ryuu-chan) from CLAMP Newspaper Vol.8? (I can’t help but see that shining symbol on top of their building as the mark of a certain sweets company…)

A: They’re a jack of all trades agency. (laughs) They mainly do computer-related work (data management and software development), though they don’t look like it.

Q: Maybe this is impatient of me since the series just started, but would Emo-nyan to Ryuu-chan be collected into a volume someday?

A: We haven’t decided on that yet.


Thank you so much for participating in CLAMP Newspaper: Subscriber’s Counseling Room (and apologies to everyone whose letter we weren’t able to publish). We’ve decided to change things up this time around, so both people who got their letters published and those who didn’t would all receive a postcard. Everyone who sent a letter to CLAMP Newspaper: Subscriber’s Counseling Room would receive it in the mail by the middle of April. Please look forward to it.


Translated from Japanese by ET.



[1] Note: 163 cm is 5’4 and 160 cm is 5’3.

[2] Happy Science is a religious cult in Japan, and Ohkawa Ryuho is its founder. His birth name, indeed, is Nakagawa Ryuu.

[3] Apparently, it’s a psycho suspense drama with occult tones, bizarre characters, lots of sudden twists and a high body count.

[4] This was most likely a typo. The correct chapter title is CRIME.

[5] The kanji used for Duklyon’s Erii and the Ally of Justice Erii are different.

[6] Poetry is pretty difficult to translate without knowing the context, in this case the picture it’s supposed to accompany. This should be a functional approximation, though.



This talk was originally published in the CLAMP News 9, released on February 1992. Original scans available upon request.


If you found mistakes in this translation or would like to contribute with translating other interviews, please contact me.